ECONOMY WEEKLY: WEEK OF APRIL 12, 2010




“Sometimes you have to take out your political lenses and look at the actual statistics to get a true picture of the health of the American economy. Right now, those statistics are saying a modest cyclical rebound following a very deep downturn could actually be turning into a full-fledged, V-shaped, recovery boom between now and year-end. I’m aiming this thought especially at many of my conservative friends who seem to be trashing the improving economic outlook — largely, it would appear, to discredit the Obama administration. Don’t do it folks. It’s a mistake. The numbers are the numbers. And prosperity is a welcome development for a nation that has suffered mightily.”

– Larry Kudlow, CNBC, 4/12/2010

 
Economy Highlights:


• The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased 1.6 percent in March, which was stronger than the 1.2 percent increase economists predicted: “Shoppers turned up in surprising force … in March, adding to a growing sense that the recovery could prove faster than anticipated. Combined with a rebounding service sector, rising financial markets and new efforts to forgive mortgage debts, March's 1.6% surge in retail sales is tempting forecasters to upgrade their assessments of the economy's ability to restore the 8.2 million U.S. jobs lost since the recession began.” Economists, who had predicted only a 1.2 percent increase, “…[said] that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, may be more robust this year than previously thought.”  [Wall Street Journal4/15/2010; New York Times4/15/2010]


• Further evidence that our economy continues to see signs of recovery, this week, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 for the first time since 2008. ‘Nobody ever thought we’d ever get near this level this fast,’ said William J. Schultz, chief investment officer for McQueen, Ball & Associates. ‘We’ve come a long way.’ A long way indeed. Since March 2009, the Dow has soared 68 percent.” [New York Times4/12/2010]


• According to Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, U.S. consumer confidence rose in April to 48.4 (versus 45.4 in March) “boosted by stock market gains and modest job market improvement, a research group said on Tuesday…. It now stands exactly at its 12-month average and 4 points higher than the 44.4 level IBD reported in December 2007 when the recession began.” [Washington Post4/13/2010]


 

Recovery Highlights:


• A report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Recovery Act was responsible for creating 2.2 to 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010.  “The report, coming a day before the April 15 tax deadline, says the law has delivered more than $200 billion in tax relief and other direct benefits, mostly to middle- and lower-income families. More than $70 billion was paid in the past three months.”   [CEA Report4/14/2010; USA Today4/14/2010]
 
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